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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Family of Origin (FOO) => Topic started by: Healing Finally on November 19, 2019, 11:53:34 PM

Title: Narcissistic Family Dynamic
Post by: Healing Finally on November 19, 2019, 11:53:34 PM
HI all, :wave:

Thought to share, I am gaining more understanding about my upbringing and how/why my c-ptsd is so prevalent, even though I did not experience physical or sexual abuse.

I was raised within a Narcissistic Family Dynamic, where the needs of the family unit was more important than the needs of the individuals.  Without going into too much detail, my father was a workaholic and my mother was very codependent (she needed a lot of emotional support.)  Both my parents worked hard to provide a loving and supportive environment; but due to the fact they both came from broken homes, they went overboard and basically spoiled and sheltered both my sister and I.  We lived beyond our means.  They unwittingly created a fantasy dreamworld that they continually tried to keep going, but reality would break through causing difficulty.  Like my sister and I growing up.

I now understand the things I struggled with as a child, which created my c-ptsd, were not properly addressed, due to this dynamic.  Two major issues;

1) I was bullied in a private school for 1.5 years (7th grade and 1/2 of 8th) until my parents finally pulled me out and put me in public school (originally my Mom was concerned that public school was not adequate.)  I now understand, it wasn't just the bullying/mobbing that was traumatic, it was the fact that my parents would discount my agony when I came hope to tell them about it.  They were not able to validate my emotions as they did not want to believe the school situation was that bad to remove me.  Finally they did, but I really have to wonder how bad I had to get for them to believe me?

2) My younger sister (2.5 years) is a malignant covert narcissist, just like our grandmother (my mother's mother.)  She always has to have her way, and I, with my sensitive/supportive and codependent nature, would always give in.  My mother would do the same thing (as she learned to do with her own mother.)  As my mother was my role model, I didn't learn how to stand up for myself.  This pattern stunted my ability to grow into a healthy independent person.  It also created a lot of internal anguish and resentment.

As my Mom was raised by a mean selfish mother and abandoned by her father, she did not have a high regard for herself.  So the strength and success of the family unit was very important to her.  It provided her what she never had before, a loving family that needed her where she could feel she belonged.

My Dad was gone a lot so he didn't get too involved in the female dynamics of his wife and two daughters.  This left a lot of time for my Mom to get too involved in both my sister and my ever day life; due to her codependent needs.  I never really felt like a separate person.  Sad.

Fast forward to today, I am 62 years old (and single.)  My sister is 59.  My Mom is 87, and my Dad passed over 12 years ago.  I have one son in his 30s, and my sister has two in their 20s.  No grandkids.  Sadly, we haven't been together, as a family, for over 5 years, due to a blow up, which I am still blamed for.  My sister won't speak to me, nor let her grown children contact me; and my Mom can't stand up for herself and insist that we be a family.  I am being scapegoated, yet again.

The blow up was due to my venting about my sister to my BIL in an email, during the time they were separated, which he shared with my Mom and they shared it with my sister.  Basically I was saying he needed to divorce her (she had been out of the house for 2 years at this time with BIL paying for all her expenses) and not drag his family through a long separation.  He didn't take my advice (rather took great offense) and this year, 5 years later, my sister filed for divorce (once she had a new boyfriend who could support her.)

Since my Mom requires a lot of emotional support (she also has c-ptsd from her childhood,) when my Dad died, she transferred the "Head of the Family" label to my BIL.  Now that he's (almost) out of the picture, she is already praising my sister's new boyfriend.  She is devastated that we can't all be together, but she is incapable of seeing the family unit in any other way than with a man at the helm. She does not see herself as the Matriarch.  As the older daughter, I am given no acknowledgement by her as part of the family, except that I exist and am her daughter.

My Mom has erased all memory of my sister being self-absorbed as a child, teenager and young adult (my sister lived at home until she moved in with her soon to be husband.)  She does not see my sister's narcissistic actions as unusual primarily because she doesn't want to and is so used to this behavior from both her mother and daughter.  Over the past few years I've tried to work with her to see "my side", but it is IMPOSSIBLE.  A few times we met with my therapist, but any awareness she would get at the time of our session was erased with days.

Why am I writing this?  I guess to get a better understanding of the current "family" situation today so I can accept it and not let it aggravate my c-ptsd.  I have recently been posting to the OOTF website regarding current family dynamics, but here thought to post regarding the c-ptsd.  I am sick of having it run my life.  I have yet to master it, especially since the Narcissistic Family Dynamic continues.

Thanks for listening, and if anyone has any thoughts, let me know, thank you!
Title: Re: Narcissistic Family Dynamic
Post by: Three Roses on November 20, 2019, 04:42:35 AM
I do have one suggestion - I've recently been watching some YouTube videos recommended by Snowdrop (thanks again, Snowdrop!) by Richard Schwartz about the Internal Family Systems therapy he has created. It's astounding. My very first guided meditation brought a ton of comfort! Definitely going to buy his book on payday!

People are messy and complicated. All we can do is try to take care of ourselves. I sometimes grieve for the family of my dreams but that's just not possible, so the most I can do is work in the present to heal myself and create my own oasis of health. And anyone who wants to enter my oasis is here by invitation only. And I'm only inviting healthy people, anyone else can take a long walk off a short pier! 😎

Here's the first of a 4 part series introducing IFS - this is the one Snowdrop recommended that I watched first -

And this is the one containing the guided meditation -
Title: Re: Narcissistic Family Dynamic
Post by: dollyvee on November 08, 2020, 02:18:27 PM
Thank you for sharing these links Three Roses. Very eye-opening and mind opening. Makes a lot of sense these little pieces inside and how sometimes instead of going forward we feel like we’re sabotaging ourselves, but these are only our protectors doing their job.

Thank you Healing Family as well. I also come from a narcissistic family and understand what a lonely place it can be when you’re the scapegoat.
Title: Re: Narcissistic Family Dynamic
Post by: dollyvee on November 08, 2020, 02:19:45 PM
Or Healing Finally 🙈